Koren surprised by exit

Midfielder sad to leave The Hawthorns

Koren: Proud of Baggies stay

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Robert Koren has admitted he was surprised that West Brom decided not to keep him at The Hawthorns.

The Baggies confirmed earlier on Monday they were releasing Koren after opting against taking up the further year's option on his contract.

It was expected West Brom would keep hold of the attacking midfielder as they prepare for life back in the Premier League, but Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo has decided to let him move on.

Korean was signed on a Bosman from Norwegian side Lillestrom in January 2007 and he made 149 appearances, scoring 22 goals during his time at the club.

The 29-year-old, who is preparing for next month's World Cup finals with Slovenia, admits he will be sad to leave West Brom, but that he is focusing on the World Cup before thinking about his next move.

"I was surprised not to get the option after, what I felt, some good performances in the season," Koren told skysports.com.

Time for a change

"I was looking forward to being part of the Premier League campaign. However, it's always sad to leave a club after three-and-a-half years and close to 150 appearances but these things happen for a reason and perhaps it's time for a change.

"I have the World Cup coming up and that is where 100 per cent of my focus lies.

"I would like to thank the staff at the club and most of all, the fans, who have always been kind to me ever since I arrived.

"West Brom is a great club and I have been proud to wear the shirt."